And that’s what we did this weekend, lots of it! Saturday started darn early for me, as I wanted to come home to the kids in time and have other things done. t’s Black Saturday, you know, what means it’s hill repeats on PCT with Ronda and a gang, and honestly, it’s my first and only hill workout this season! o I arrived a good 40 min early and trudged on to the beginning of that 3M/2400 feet section. It is an awesome section for the job to do, but I obviously slacked all year, and wasn’t going to just “kick into high gear” right away. I left an extra bottle at the bottom and slowly begun my ascent… slowly been a cue word, as I can’t even call it “hiking” or “power walking”. Well, ok, I was walking fine, but not breathing any harder that I would on the flat, and deeply submerged into my own thoughts. I’ve got enough things to roll in my head to occupy myself all the way to the top – until I looked at the watch and was horrified at my new personal worst! I mean, I am not nearly where I was in 2005 (with PR at 42 min and regular time of 44-45), nor am I in 2006 anymore (46-47 min), or even 2007 when I still trained somewhat (48 min), but THIS number??? I am afraid to write it down because Ronda will laugh me off! I turned around and kind of got ticked off at myself. Of course, been a downhiller, it’s not like I had to work at all to hit the “normal” times I always do, so that doesn’t count…On the way up the BS Gang was coming up, working hard, and they made me feel like a real sissy I was with their work ethic and determination.
There was so much encouragement going on in exchange, it lifted my spirits to the point I decided to actually put an effort into this damn hill! I dropped the empty bottle, swallowed a gel and turned around for #2. And I huffed, and I puffed…now, I am not going to lie to you that I ran the whole way up, in fact, I never did, even on the best day I was may be running 2/3 of it, but this Saturday I was pretty darn close to making it half-ass running 50%! Ronda, Micheal and Steve were on their way down and the “woohoo, way to go” filled the forest big time. What high! I did not look at my watch until I reached the top, and was very pleased to see the result of my work – 47 min. Again, it is nothing deserving the “yeah, baby” from others, but certainly from me. Not only I made it here all by myself, I ran both repeats alone, I worked (ok, only at one), and I still maintained my downhill skill, because I made it in 23 and 22 min respectively (with PR at 20 and anything under 25 a given). The gang was back for second “serving” again full of amazing energy as well as Zirk, Gail and Tom had joined in the fun!
It was a great morning for 17M, and all in all in less than 4 hrs, so that by 11:30am I was home and working on my personal “to do” list. There was work for 3 hrs (need to forward it to boss, don’t you think?), studying, cooking, cleaning (did I mention Alex did a tremendous job with painting? He rocked my expectations!) and so on – next day was about to be as tough and busy as the one before…
Every time I look at my alarm clock, I think it probably is nice to be a normal person who sleeps in on the weekend. The numbers on my clock don’t budge at all, may be if only on the lower side. It’s either 5am or before that. I guess sleep is overrated…but at 6am I was meeting Mike (who finally got fed up with hot paved flat Florida and came back to home turf), Dave S. and Adrien to take up on another Gorge outing. We all sandbagged and talked trash how slow we are going to go.
And we did, go slow that is, for the first oh, 3 miles or so. We had a lot of things to discuss (especially me, of course), and Adrien is pretty seriously injured (keeping fingers crossed for Bighorn in 2 weeks!), until he decided to turn around.
And then the pace kind of started picking up, very slightly at first, until the Franklin intersection. The snow was gone up to that point, but was still pretty solid above, so we stood for a bit while eating and voted to not go to Larch (well, I voted). And as we backed our way on the downhill…things clicked. I let it go. I always call it “4 F’s” – Fun Free Forward Float (or Fall). In fact, I think it is crime to work on downhill, it’s not why it’s there – it is to relax, enjoy, recharge and be a kid! I even danced at the same speed through the rock field – something I haven’t done in a couple of years! It took me a full clothes change and a gel eaten till the guys showed up! Of course, I was certain to receive all the lecturing about been limber and loose, and Mike told Dave about our yoga session in the nature setting, and we all got into practicing. Hey, trail running is FUN!
And then I kicked their behinds again…and then again…and again (it’s a long downhill, you get the point). But – and it’s a big BUT – what comes down MUST GO UP! And I was paying the price, or rather shown “how it’s done” on the next hill…and the next hill…and another one all the way to Devil’s Rest!
And I paid back again, down by Foxglove and Bridal Veil, and then got kicked in a tushy going back to Angel’s, and then we goofed off at the top basking in the sun…the weather was spectacular!
We, Oregonians, know how to appreciate the sun and the heat (well, 70F is good enough) really from the bottom of our hearts. It was just perfect!
Well, the rest of the way we just kept together chatting along and having a blast discussing life. When we were done, I could not believe that 22M with a touch over 6,000 feet of gain was over in 5:20, and that included all the breaks, yoga, posing at the top of Angel’s and potential pit stops (and all on 4 gels and 2 bottles of water, what actually made each of us quite dehydrated until we found a stream in the last few miles). And you guys in a meantime think about YOUR "bucket list" (if I am to die tomorrow) too!
You know, it is officially my best Gorge run this year (or may be a run in general in the season of 2008) – and I am damn proud of it. May be it’s my new level of happiness, may be it’s the sun, may be I am not as untrained as I fear I am (I really don’t fear it, just acknowledge and accept). Whatever it is – I am liking it!
I picked up Stephen, and we went to Dave and Lynn’s house before I need to head back to work - to have some soup and beer and discuss – guess what? – how we can do “Yoga for runners” in their basement! I mean, here I was, just putting on my “bucket list” how I want to get back to teaching yoga simply for benefit of giving what I know to others – and I find those who are interested and on top of it a space to provide the classes! Is anything can get better falling into place?
I think there is. So for those enquiring minds who are curious and/or care to know, yes, it is true...:)